US has already imported most of its holiday-season goods; Portland, Maine gets funding for port upgrades

Portland, ME shipping

SeafoodSource is closely following the international shipping sector by compiling a regular round-up of updates about shipping port updates.

The flow of imports to the U.S. expected to slow through the remainder of 2023, despite the expectation the holiday sales season will be record-setting.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), most merchandise and goods has already arrived in the U.S. in advance of the holidays, resulting in an expected lull for the shipping sector. 

“Retailers expect record-setting sales during the holiday sales season this year, and they have their shelves stocked to meet demand whether it’s in stores or at distribution centers to fulfill online orders,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a release. “Port, railroad, and delivery service labor contract issues that caused worries earlier in the year are behind us, and the supply chain is running smoothly. Shoppers should have no trouble finding what they want this year.”

NRF is forecasting 3 to 4 percent growth in year-over-year holiday salse in the U.S., surpassing USD 957.3 billion (EUR 987.5 billion) in total. The U.S. is enjoying stronger economic conditions than Asia and Europe in the close-out to 2023, according to NRF, but overall, there has been a global decline in customer demand.

“U.S. consumers stand out in the global economy as they continue to benefit from job and wage growth and are still able to dip into savings accumulated during the pandemic,” international trade consulting services firm Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said.

But Hackett warned the slowdown in global shipping trade could hurt the U.S. economy.

“While U.S. consumers are doing well, a global recession in cargo trade could potentially affect the supply chain," he said.

- Portland, Maine U.S.A. will receive a grant of USD 14 million (EUR 13.1 million) to upgrade its shipping port in conjunction with the ongoing construction of a refrigerated warehouse, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The grant is aimed at expanding the city's capacity to handle refrigerated cargo, including seafood. It currently serves as a hub for Eimskip's U.S. operations, but there is almost USD 2 billion (EUR 1.9 billion) in frozen seafood exported to the U.S. East Coast that does not pass through Portland, and city officials hope to capture more of that traffic.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the grant on 3 November, with funds to be allocated from the Investing in America Fund, an initiative of U.S. President Joe Biden.

Funding from the grant will go to Portland's International Marine Terminal to improve electrical connections for refrigerated containers, and toward constructing new storage racks, lighting additions, and other improvements to the existing terminal. According to the Portland Press Herald, the project should be complete by Q2 2024. 

Photo courtesy of Rich Bard/Shutterstock 


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